What a douzy of a day of basketball, and with that, we’re going to go on a bit of a rant:
A NON-CASCADIAN TEAM SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO HOST THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT. It doesn’t help the GNAC. It just exhausts all of the GNAC players (and staffers/parents/traveling fans) and leads to low-quality basketball because people are tired. We know firsthand. We made the mistake of going to Anchorage and then had the turn around of this tournament. It is 100% brutal. We work full time, we’re finishing up grad school and have had midterms this past week, we write a time-consuming blog that we exert a lot of effort on even outside of the travel. We know we haven’t been at our best at any of them, and so expecting these guys to play at their best during the most critical part of the season when they’ve just had to trek up to Alaska or out to Montana or down to Nampa is ridiculous.
Conference tournament host schools should consist of: Saint Martin’s.
Lacey residents are really good at showing up even when SMU isn’t playing, the staff knows what its doing, its centrally located, and their arena is off in a corner of their campus and so parking is good too. Literally seven schools (minimum) benefit when it’s hosted at SMU.
The other I-5 corridor schools:
- CU-Portland’s gym is too small & the campus has incredibly homophobic policies.
- SPU is an option but parking there is a complete pain and again: highly homophobic policies.
- Bellingham residents don’t show up unless a WWU team is playing (see: the NCAA tournament).
- Monmouth fans don’t show up unless WOU is playing and even if WOU is playing, attendance is mediocre.
- CWU would be a good host, but it requires a trek over a mountain pass and we’re not convinced of the parking situation.
- SFU we’d love to have as the host, but the passport issue (as in, you need to have one in order to go there) makes us think it’ll never happen.
In addition to Anchorage being exhausting in terms of the travel, we just weren’t impressed with the experience. The arena is very reminiscent of Spokane Arena, which is fine, but not what you really need D2. The tournament was poorly attended, it’s consensus that the arena staff had no idea what they were doing, and while the UAA athletic department itself was really nice, there are a lot of awesome staffs in the conference and so sorry, but that one thing doesn’t make it worth it.
That’s just our two cents. Now let’s talk about actual basketball!
#3 Cal Baptist 72 vs. #7 Azusa Pacific 68
The most boring and sleepy four point game we’ve ever watched. It was back and forth, then Cal Baptist would go on a run, then back and forth and then Cal Baptist would go on a run. Azusa actually reminded us of CWU, in that they stayed in a game they had no business being in and hit shots down the stretch. Congrats to Cal Baptist on grinding out the win.
#1 Western Oregon 77 vs. #5 Saint Martin’s 55
How often are both of the final scores divisible by 11? Who knows, but it’s still fun! This game was insane for the first 28 or so minutes and then WOU hit a few shots and that was that. We’re sooo proud of the Saints, holy heck, you guys stayed in it for as long as you possibly could, but WOU is a very good team and this loss is nothing to be embarrassed about. You guys return everything and we’re so happy that we only have to mourn Matt graduating. Thank-you Matt for a fantastic year in the GNAC!
Saints highlights: Luke Chavez had 22 points; and Rhett Baerlocher had five boards and eight points.
Wolf highlights: Malik Morgan had a full house among six assists and eight points; Tanner Omlid had eight boards and seven assists among a full house of stats; Vince Boumann had eight boards and 12 points; and Ali Faruq-Bey had seven boards. Off the bench DEMETRIUS TRAMMELL had a good game with 14 points; Brandell Evans had seven points; and JJ CHIRNSIDE had 12 points.
Ridiculously proud of the Wolves bench. We’re going to avoid eulogizing the careers of the seniors until your season is actually over, but know that we see you digging deep and we’re proud of you and let’s put it off for another four games! Get that natty. Congrats again to SMU on an amazing season, Luke Chavez had a fantastic game, we’re so happy we get to keep him, and then EJ Boyce did in fact bounce back from the turnovers and he’s another we’re happy we get to keep.
It came to our attention last night that due to an NCAA policy, the WOU redshirts weren’t allowed to sit behind the WOU bench. We get the idea behind that -the travel squad is restricted because of the tournament- but the area behind the WOU bench was the WOU student section, so… With that policy, it’s then implied that WOU athletes aren’t WOU students, and we thought the NCAA was alllll about the student-athlete.
To the players: Again, we know you’re exhausted, we know it’s hard, we know it sucks, we know that it’s not fair that Cal Baptist stayed home for the conference tournament meanwhile we all trekked to Anchorage. We’re trying to speak up for you guys, we believe in what you do, hopefully athletic departments themselves will put pressure on the conference not to let Anchorage host again, because seriously: putting the vast majority of schools at a disadvantage to help one or two makes zero sense.
Again: Congrats to the Saints on an amazing season. We love you, we believe in you, and we can’t wait to see what you do with an off-season of training!
The Sweet 16 preview post will be up tomorrow morning.
See this is why we don’t talk about the Pac-West and CCAA: Because we have no idea. But it was a ridiculously fun day of games, so we’ll give you their results anyway!
#3 Cal Baptist 81 vs. #6 UC San Diego 67
No real idea what happened in this game, but skimming the box score it apparently was back and forth all game before Cal Baptist successfully made a move with about seven minutes left to go and then walked from there on out. Congrats to the Lancers!
#2 Dixie State 65 vs. #7 Azusa Pacific 69
We never saw this result coming. For some reason we were convinced of Dixie State even though we weren’t impressed when we watched them in non-con. Dixie has a history of coming on strong late and they had an impressive conference record, beat Azusa by 15 the last time the teams met, and yet… Holy guacamole this game was good. Each half seemed to pass in about a minute. It was dynamic and amazing and our highest congrats to Azusa, getting the upset. Bon voyage Dixie State, it’s been real, have fun in the RMAC. We think they’re probably more amenable to confederate flags in those parts, so maybe you’ll have to bring that back?
Now for the real discussions:
#4 Cal Poly Pomona 58 vs. #5 Saint Martin’s 66
This game was molasses-y as all heck. Much as the Dixie/APU game went by in a hot second, this game seemed to take twice as long. SMU played smarter basketball than we’ve seen them play all year and this is the right time to do it and they got the win. We think they’re much more tested both via their non-con and their conference schedule, which likely helped. We’re sooo proud of the Saints! A couple of Western Oregon fans were heckling them as they walked out, saying they were scared of WOU, but… No. They don’t need to watch a ton of WOU blowing out Point Loma because oh gee, they met a week ago. We were there to see it, unlike the WOU big talkers.
Saint highlights: Luke Chavez had 16 points; Matt Dahlen had six boards and eight points; Rhett Baerlocher had eight points on perfect shooting from the line; and EJ Boyce continues to prove he’s the best EJ in the conference, this time having 19 points. Off the bench BJ Standley had five boards and five points; and Tavian Henderson had six boards.
Shorter line-up than usual. We thought CPP was out when they were down by sixteen, but they made a huge push and we were like “hmmm…” but ultimately SMU was playing some really good, Chico State-esque defense and it wasn’t going to happen. The only concerning number we see is EJ’s eight turnovers, but… That number is so high it seems like a one-off. He can’t possibly have that many turnovers again, so… Good he got that out of his system against the Broncos. Congrats to the Saints on a huge win and upset!
Point Loma 66 @ Western Oregon 73
This game was a tale of two halves. WOU absolutely blew out Point Loma during the first half, they were up ridiculous amounts the entire time, and it seemed ludicrous that Point Loma could come back. They did. The Sea Lions did come back. They never took the lead and even when they got it within four the game was still out of reach, but in terms of moral victories for a team that largely consists of underclassmen, it was huge. That said: the Wolves got it done and a ‘W’ is a ‘W’ is a ‘W,’ especially in the NCAA tournament.
Wolf highlights: Malik Morgan had 10 points and six assists; Tanner Omlid had 20 points among a full house of stats; Vince Boumann was LIGHTS OUT against his old coach and had 15 points and five boards; Ali Faruq-Bey had five boards; and Riley Hawken had five boards. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell had six points; and JJ Chirnside had six points.
Curious numbers by the Wolves because we feel like their bench was a lot more valuable than the numbers describe. Those guys run like dogs (no pun intended) and harassed the everliving stuff out of Point Loma. Now the trick will be just to stay on the grind. Luckily, we like the match-up they’re going into.
All times pacific standard.
#3 Cal Baptist vs. #7 Azusa Pacific @ 5pm
As we were reminded yesterday: We know nothing about the Pac-West, but that doesn’t stop the president and it won’t stop us. From what we can tell there’s a bit of a rivalry developing between these two teams; they both entered the Pac-West at the same time, they’ve both been really good since moving up to D2 and Cal Baptist is actually headed up to D1, so… Brief rivalry, but who knows? Maybe Azusa pulls the upset?
Prediction: No. Because we seriously have no idea.
#1 Western Oregon vs. #5 Saint Martin’s @ 7:30pm
Part of us is excited for this game and part of us is heartbroken because two GNAC teams facing off in the round of 32. They did just meet a week ago, and oddly enough there should be quite a bit of fuel for the fire. WOU didn’t play nearly as well as they could have, and yet if SMU had played just a bit better they probably could have won and thus won the conference tournament. We love both of these coaches, think they’re the cream of the crop in regard to the GNAC, and so that match-up will be fun to see again.
Prediction: No, because there’s just too many variables.
It should be a great night of hoops. As always: tweet at us & come say hi! We’ll be at both games. Community is the best part of basketball.
There’ll be some post burn in the coming weeks because we’ve written 90% of a few posts and then didn’t post them because we’re idiots, but oh well. Let’s preview the first day of West Region games!
All games played at Western Oregon University, all times pacific standard.
#6 UC San Diego vs. #3 Cal Baptist @ 12pm
These two teams met earlier this year and saw UCSD lose by five on the road at Cal Baptist. While we believe the seeding is right, we do think that either team can win. UCSD is running hot and coming on at the right time, having just won their conference tournament to get the auto-bid. Cal Baptist just lost to Dixie State in the conference tournament and will be looking to rebound from that. They should be fairly well matched, and it’s hard to say. We think that Cal Baptist will ultimately win a close one, but…
Prediction: Pick ’em.
#7 Azusa Pacific vs. #2 Dixie State @ 2:30pm
We’re excited for this game. We definitely showed our bias in terms of the GNAC thinking that WWU deserved the bid over Azusa, when really: No one deserved that bid, but WWU scheduled terribly in non-con, something we always complain about, and even while scheduling terribly they still managed to lose. They lost to a bad Hilo team as well as a bad Cal State East Bay team, so… We tip our cap to Azusa. You earned this bid, but we definitely don’t think you’ll win, seeing as you lost by 15 last time.
Prediction: Dixie State wins somewhere between comfortably (10 points or so) and a blow-out (20+).
#5 Saint Martin’s vs. #4 Cal Poly Pomona @ 5pm
This is the D2 equivalent to the 5 & 12 game of the D1 tournament. There’s no telling who’s going to truthfully win because it’s just as often that a 5 seed upsets a 4 seed. It’s always a really fun, really intense game, usually with scrappy play by the number 5 team. We like Saint Martin’s chances. They’re coming off of a loss to WOU, yes, but they played in the strongest conference in the west, they’re well tested from non-con, we think that WOU is a lot better than CPP, and so… We think that SMU has every chance to win it. Cal Poly Pomona won the regular season and then just lost to UCSD by two points in the CCAA tournament, but the CCAA is the weakest conference on the west coast this year and it doesn’t help that the Broncos played no one in non-con, so we’ll see.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
#8 Point Loma vs. #1 Western Oregon @ 7:30pm
We’re sooo excited for this game because these two teams started the season playing each other at Western Oregon and one of the teams is going to end their season in that same locale. In the first meeting Western Oregon won 70-69, Preston Beverly now of PLNU, formerly of MSUB had a good game, Tanner Omlid didn’t see a ton of minutes despite a lack of foul trouble, and so… We’re really curious to see how his minutes add up. He had an arguably terrible game in the conference championship game and so he’s going to be wanting to bounce back. Vince Boumann formerly played at PLNU and is going to want to have a good game against his old coach. Ryan Looney, formerly of SPU and now at PLNU, had an incredibly difficult time winning in the Western Oregon gym while he was at Seattle Pacific, and so that’ll be kind of a monkey on his back. We’re super curious about this game because we think WOU could easily blow out Point Loma, but at the same time Point Loma has all the potential of getting the upset.
Prediction: Western Oregon wins big/small/medium or PLNU wins a close one; PLNU won’t blowout the Wolves.
It should be a great day of hoops. We can’t wait. We’re missing the 1st game, but will be there for the second onward, so come say ‘hi!’
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
We’re going to go ahead and do the UAF/UAA preview first to get it out of the way:
Anything can happen in a rivalry game and neither team has looked particularly impressive thus far, although Anchorage definitely more so than Fairbanks. We’re curious to see what Jacob Lampkin does against the Nooks, but that’s pretty much it.
Now, for the Bracketology:
Teams that we think have a legit shot at an at-large bid even if they lose several games during conference play:
Cal State LA -they got killed by Cal Baptist, but it was on the road and they played non-con largely within the region with a solid mix of A-B-C teams.
UCSD -While they have three losses, those three losses come from Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, and Dixie State; all traditionally strong teams. They also have a win against WWU -another team that projects to be strong.
San Marcos -Solid non-con; only loss was a blowout against CU-Irvine, and they have wins against both Azusa Pacific and CU-Portland, both of whom project as middle-of-the-pack teams in their respective conferences. They’re honestly the epitome of a bubble team in regard to how non-con looks.
Cal Baptist -Only loss comes from a surprisingly good SMU team.
CU-Irvine -Only loss is to Seattle Pacific, has wins against San Marcos (A), Central Washington (B-), and Chico (B+).
Point Loma -They have wins against an SMU team that beat Cal Baptist, and a Simon Fraser team that doesn’t look as bad as it usually does. Their losses come from GNAC-leading WOU and a good UCSD team.
Western Oregon -Our choice for now to host the regional; they got through a quality non-con schedule completely unscathed and then their formal travel partner upset Cal Baptist for them.
Saint Martin’s -Stellar non-con, only loss is to Point Loma, and they have a win over Cal Baptist. Love it.
Seattle Pacific -We’re not thrilled with how the Falcons have looked as of late, but the fact is: They have wins over CU-Irvine and Dixie State, one of their losses was on the road in 2OT, and then the other loss was D2 but non-west region on the road.
MSUB -isn’t on this list because while undefeated, they play the bulk of their non-con schedule in a few weeks.
Teams to keep an eye on despite a meh non-con:
Cal Poly Pomona -Lost to Azusa Pacific, beat Dixie State, but both were home games and that was the entirety of their D2 non-con.
Chico State -Lost a close one on a neutral court to CU-Irvine, killed Biola and Dominican; this is a terrible non-con schedule, just saying.
San Fran State -Lost to CU-Portland on a neutral court, beat NNU in OT on the road, barely beat Academy of Art & Dominican. All four teams project to be B & C teams in their respective conferences, so while SFSU has an okay record right now, we’re not impressed.
Dixie State -They went through a positively brutal non-con, with losses coming via Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State LA, Western Oregon, and Seattle Pacific, and then their one win was against UCSD. Do they need to have a great regular season? Yes. Should they be able to do it? Absolutely. Dixie usually gets better as the year goes on, and again: they couldn’t have tested themselves any more in non-con.
Azusa Pacific -Another brutal non-con, and they have wins against UCSD, Cal Poly Pomona, and an SFU team that isn’t as bad as it normally is. Their losses come via WOU and San Marcos, so completely legitimate.
Chaminade -We want to see them win on the mainland. They barely beat Dominguez Hills, and while they beat the Alaska schools in Alaska, the Alaska schools are worse than normal this year.
Shockingly, we’re going to do the GNAC differently, because despite a meh non-con, almost every team is still in contention. Here are the teams that we think could only lose one or two games in conference, otherwise they’ll rely entirely on the auto-bid:
UAF -They barely played anyone and they only beat Hawaii Pacific.
UAA -Playing Holy Names is subtraction by addition. We get that they didn’t return anything, but they were projected to be wayyy better than they’ve proven thus far.
CWU -Played no one except CU-I and Hilo in non-con and they lost to CU-I at that. Sorry, but seriously two schools? Nope.
The good news for the three schools above is that CWU is a notoriously hard place to play, as are the Alaska schools, and then the conference tournament is hosted in Alaska. The bad news is that if everybody beats everybody and everyone ends up with four or five losses, they’re not going to deserve nor should they get the benefit of the doubt.
Is there quite a bit of the benefit of the doubt being given by teams that have proven themselves in the past, particularly in the Pac-West? Yes. But regeneration is much easier than starting from the bottom, and it’s such a big everybody’s-beaten-everbody-except-WOU that it’s what we’re going with. It’s awesome. It should be a really fun regular season.
And yes: the GNAC came out looking fantastic in non-con. Congrats in particular to CU-Portland, Northwest Nazarene, and Simon Fraser for still being in contention for at-large bids!
One question we’re now contemplating… If by February 1st it looks like neither Alaska school is going to make the conference tournament, is there any way we can send it back to Lacey instead? Just thinking out loud here.
Have fun, be safe, go GNAC!
Lots of great moments to be proud of and excited about, teams doing what we know they can and getting it done! NNU is looking better than normal, which is great for everyone much less them =) Way to go Crusaders.
CWU 84 vs. Hilo 79 @ SPU
It looks closer than it was; CWU turned off the gas after having a huge lead. Oh well, got the ‘W’ that’s what counts.
Wildcat highlights: Khalil Shabazz had 25 points and was 9-11 from the line; Marc Rodgers had eight points; and Fuquan Niles was a fantastic 6-7 from the field, 5-6 from the line, and finished with 17 points and 11 boards. Off the bench Malik Montoya had 10 points; and Coleman Sparling had six points and five boards.
Way to get it done Wildcats!
Azusa Pacific 87 @ WOU 99
Pretty much what we expected and numbers from the usual guys. Good performance, solid, looking long and strong.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had 15 points, five boards, and five steals among other stats for a full house; Darius Luborn had seven boards; Riley Hawken had five boards; JJ Chirnside had 10 points and five boards also rounding out with a full house. Off the bench Malik Morgan had nine points; Demetrius Trammell proved his sixth man expertise scoring 24 points on great shooting including 6-8 from three; Janvier Alaby had 10 points; and Vince Bouman 18 points while going 6-7 from the field.
Congrats on a nice win Wolves!
SFSU 97 @ CU-PDX 102
HECK YES CONCORDIA-PORTLAND!!!!!! We knew you could do it.
Cav highlights: Cody Starr had 22 points and 10 assists for the double-double; Jarrett Gray had 22 points and five assists; and Christopher Edward had 14 points and 11 boards. Off the bench Bryan Michaels had a massive 25 on good shooting and while going 6-7 from the line; and Taylor Harris also shot well, finishing with 13 points.
Great job to the Cavs! Ridiculously proud of you.
CU-Irvine 56 @ SPU 79
Ooookay. We’ll take it. We’re confused about whether or not we still think CU-I is a good team though; we’ll have to wait and see and cross our fingers as a conference.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had nine points and five boards; and Sam Simpson had six boards. Off the bench Braden Olsen had seven points; Harry Cavell had 11 points; Hunter Eisenhower had 11 points; and Nathan Streufert had eight points, seven boards, and a whopping seven blocks.
Congrats & thank-you for getting the ‘W’ Falcons! Our conference SOS largely depends on you.
Holy Names 55 @ UAA 63
Not the distribution we were expecting, but UAA won and that’s what counts.
Seawolf highlights: Maleke Haynes had eight assists; Jacob Lampkin continues to impress with a double-dobule of 17 points and 14 boards; DJ Ursery had 19 points and five boards; and off the bench Drew Peterson had12 points and six boards while being 4-4 from the line.
Thanks for getting it done Seawolves.
Academy of Art 76 @ NNU 84
Picking up those non-con wins NNU! Nicely done.
Crusader highlights: Obi Megway ahd 23 points; Jayden Bezzant had 17 points and six boards among a full house; Maurice Jones is Maurice Jones -he had 27 points and 12 boards while being 8-9 from the line. Off the bench Sam Roth had eight points and six boards; while Olamilekan Adetunji had four boards.
Usually in past years NNU would have won by one or two against Art U.; this is marked improvement. Congrats to the Crusaders!
Win the day we did! GNAC goes 6/6 and life is good.
Good morning and welcome to the third big day of non-conference play.
First, the results of last night’s D2 (but non-region) game:
MSUB 75 vs. Mary 72
MSUB played a game against a Northern Sun school (non-region D2 opponent) and we had no idea what to expect out of it, so we didn’t put a prediction, but it did end basically as we expected with it being an incredibly close game. MSUB is now 3-0 in D2 play, which is awesome.
Yellowjacket highlights: Kendall Denham finally had a good game with 13 points and four assists; Tyler Green continues to impress with a fantastic 24 points and six assists; Kamal Tall had 11 boards; and off the bench Zharon Richardson had 10 points and six boards; while Daniel Shedden had seven points and five boards.
Congrats on a nice win, Jackets!!
Game Day Previews.
All times pacific standard:
CWU vs. Hilo @ 4:30pm
We’re really curious about this game because Hilo has now lost to SFU and SMU, meanwhile beat WWU. The trend would say that CWU should beat Hilo without too much of an issue, and so we’re going with that.
Prediction: CWU wins reasonably.
CU-PDX vs. San Fran State @ NNU @ 5pm
Really curious about this game because it should be a good test for the Cavs. It’s a neutral court being in Nampa and should be a good step-up test for the Cavs. SFSU looked pretty good last week with wins against Academy of Art and Dominican, so we’ll see what Christopher and Jarrett can lead the team to.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
WOU vs. Azusa Pacific @ 5:30pm
Another interesting game. Azusa is usually good; WOU projects as being really good, and we’re excited for the Wolves to get another chance to truly run. They got a nice win over Point Loma and we have full confidence that they’ll continue that today.
Prediction: WOU wins a close one.
SPU vs. CU-Irvine @ 7pm
Yet another interesting game. Irvine was looking pretty darn good last week with a win over Chico and a blowout over San Marcos. This is going to be a big test for the Falcons -it’s the first team they’re facing where they know going in that the opponent is good, and so we’ll see how they respond to it.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
NNU vs. Academy of Art @ 7pm
Should be well matched. AofA and NNU usually sit in similar spots and we really like the team that NNU has this year -even without them having been tested on a D2 level yet. The Crusaders have a surprisingly good home battlefield advantage (’cause they’re Crusaders, get it?) and Maurice Jones is back and we’re confident about him.
Prediction: NNU wins.
UAA vs. Holy Names @ 8:30pm
Seriously UAA? It can’t be that hard to get people to come and play you. For those missing it: HNU usually sits really low in the Pac-West, so this should be a gimme-game and they’re facing the Hawks two games in a row at home. At least go play them on the road twice in a row, geez.
Prediction: UAA wins big.
Should be an interesting day of games. As always -tweet at us with thoughts/questions/etc.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
This was largely written on Wednesday 1/25.
When we last checked in with them, we had the following information:
San Fran State
Who’s still in the run to host?
Chico State -close losses to UCSD and CPP, but that’s it.
UCSD -dropped their last two games to San Marcos and Sonoma.
Hawaii Pacific -shockingly only has one loss. The region getting split is actually starting to look like a possibility.
San Fran State -out; losses to UCSD and Chico, without the SOS from non-con that those schools have.
Cal Baptist -one loss, that being to Dixie State; Dixie State is a really good team; not in the running to host due to losing to CWU, but a good team all the same.
WWU -added, because while they had a questionable non-con, they only have one in conference loss thus far, and are looking super deep.
Do we know who’s hosting?
At this point no.
Prediction: Split regional. Hawaii Pacific and either WWU or Cal Baptist.
WWU is currently playing at Whatcom Community College, and they’re eligible to bid to host the tournament, but unless the Regional gets split, we don’t support it. The gym is just too tiny. We would make the same argument with CU-Portland -the Whatcom and CU-PDX gyms only hold maybe 1200 people, which yeah the non-local rounds tend to be fairly empty, but we worry about opposing fans being able to get Sweet 16 tickets, especially if say we ended up with a WWU/CWU match-up.
100% Guaranteed making the regional as of last check:
San Fran State
Western Washington is definitely still in, but what about the other schools?
Cal Baptist = yes
WWU = yes, 100%.
Chico = yes
San Fran State -downgraded to the bubble, see below.
Hawaii Pacific = Yes; their spot is now officially safe. The only question mark they have is that they beat the Alaska schools in Hawaii; UAF has looked questionable, Anchorage has been good but not the elite team we projected them as before the season, thus non-road wins and not as quality as anticipated.
Here are the bubble teams from before, minus the guaranteeds:
UCSD -100% in provided their skid stops now.
Chico -100% in provided they stay on the trajectory they are now.
San Fran State -bubble team, but a solid bubble; losses to Chico and UCSD, as well as an okay-ish loss to WOU in 3OT in non-con on the road.
East Bay -Now 5-6 in conference.
Cal Baptist -100% in.
Hawaii Pacific -100% in.
Dixie State -true bubble team; they’re really good, their SOS is good, but bubble.
Azusa Pacific -Now 5-6 in conference; relatively good non-con schedule, thus we still see them as a threat for the autobid, but they’re not on the bubble for a bid without it.
Western Washington -100% in; only have a GNAC loss to MSUB.
Central Washington -true bubble team, they’re tied for 2nd in the GNAC right now, but their lack of non-con puts them on the bubble.
Alaska-Anchorage -true bubble team, they’re tied for 2nd in the GNAC and that loss to Hawaii Pacific is looking really good.
Seattle Pacific -we said last time it was their coaching staff; a 40 point loss and they switched it up. We don’t quite consider them turned around, but they’re theoretically no longer in free fall, which they were through the first half of conference play.
Saint Martin’s -they’re in position to make the conference tournament and they need to win it in order to get a bid. They’re good, but they’re very up and down.
MSU-Billings -We have no idea what’s going on with this team. They beat WWU in Bellingham, beat UAA and WOU in Billings, and then lost by 50 to SMU in Lacey. Zoinks. They have good and experienced players with a good and experienced coaching staff, plus super soph Preston Beverly, but………….. What’s going on??
Not sure where WOU was on that list last time, but we will note now that they’re definitely a threat to get the conference autobid. They’re finding themselves again after being rather up and down.
At half way through conference play, who are you eight teams in the tournament?
San Fran State
1. Cal Baptist co-host
2. Hawaii Pacific co-host
3. Western Washington
4. UC San Diego
5. Chico State -this feels low, but UCSD non-con + head to head.
6. Central Washington
7. Dixie State
8. San Fran State -good schedule
We went with the co-hosting, because while HPU has lost to Cal Baptist, Cal Baptist lost to Dixie, which is in the 2nd half of the seeds and has a loss to CWU, thus we feel that it could be merited to split the Regional. We’re fine with Cal Baptist hosting, we’re certainly not trekking out to Hawaii, but for now we’re going with the split -maybe just because it would be a bit exciting. West Coast Pride, split regional, unique to us because as far as we know there’s no Puerto Rico teams in a conference -they’re all independent.
What’s your crazy prediction?
That three unexpected teams get the autobids. We couldn’t tell you who in the other two conferences, but in the GNAC every single team that makes the conference tournament will be seen as a threat. Lucky for WWU, they should be safe regardless. There’s a ton of implications within the bubble teams, basically:
UCSD lost to WWU (quality)
Dixie lost to CWU (quality)
UAA lost to HPU (quality)
UCSD lost to Chico (quality)
SFSU lost to WOU (quality-ish)
And then CBU lost to Dixie, but quality loss and quality win, respectively.
The thing with that mess is we couldn’t tell you which bubbles would burst if three unexpected teams got the autobids. SFSU, Dixie, and maybe CWU? CWU has a pretty strong bubble (that’s a good thing) because they’ll have a lot of head-to-heads with a potential GNAC bubble burster that gets the autobid, and then the victory over Dixie State. If Azusa gets the autobid in the Pac-West that would speak even more to CWU not having their bubble burst. But Chico is amazing, WWU is amazing, and that doesn’t even get into CBU and HPU.
The one knock on Chico is lack of SOS, which is the same knock on HPU, which calls our prediction of CBU into hosting into question, because if Chico gets the nod it’ll only be Chico. Chico’s only black mark on their schedule is the lack of SOS. Otherwise they’re golden. Same with WWU. WWU even has a coveted in-region road victory against a most-likely tournament bound team in UCSD -and that wasn’t close; they blew the Tritons out big.
Overall, we still feel like we really don’t know anything, which is odd, but when we feel like we do know something, y’all’ll be the first to find out.
After one weekend of play, we told you teams that were still officially in the running to host the Regional:
Nine teams could’ve potentially hosted, when there are only eight bids. Here are the teams from that list still in the running, along with the reasons as to why:
Chico -still in, still definitely; they’ve only dropped one game and that was to a very good UCSD team. We think at this point, provided they don’t self implode, they’re making the Regional 100%. Hosting is the question.
UCSD? – definitely maybe; they only have losses to WWU and Cal Baptist, but now they’re in the awkward position of needing to hope that CBU does incredibly well, but still loses three or four games to knock them out of hosting.
Chaminade -No; not the convincing strength of schedule and winning numbers to split the regional. Their best win is against SPU and that win doesn’t look very good this year. They also have a lot of losses already, even with leaving out the D1 losses.
Azusa Pacific -No. Lost to SPU, beat WOU, their record is 7-7, nope.
Cal Baptist -Absolutely. Even with the mess of parity, their only loss is to Dixie State and they played both Cal Poly Pomona and UCSD in non-con. Great strength of schedule.
WWU -We’re still not sure if they’re even eligible to host because of playing at Whatcom and the logistical/infrastructure nightmare that would be, but we don’t think they’re going to host unless other teams majorly implode. The Vikings simply don’t have the West Region SOS nor the out of region wins. They have a massively good win at UCSD, but that’s literally the only amazing highlight of their non-conference.
SPU -LOL. No. But last time we didn’t want to include them; we had to.
CWU -They have a great record, with only losses to Mankato and Anchorage on their sheet, but again: they lack strength of schedule. Although we’d kill for the Regional to be hosted in Ellensburg -definitely our favorite GNAC trip.
WOU -No. Too many losses and too many other teams without losses to their big tests in non-conference.
We had Hawaii Pacific on our “ish” list and while they’ve now won out, they still don’t have the strength of schedule and we don’t see them getting through the conference season with a max of two losses, which is what they’d need, in order to split the regional. It’s true that Cal Baptist/Chico/UCSD could implode and that could shove it Hawaii Pacific’s way, but… We’d assume the selection committee would rather keep the region together and with SOS being such a new criterium, weight it heavily.
Is there anyone we want to add to the list? Yes and in a big way:
San Francisco State. They’ve won out in non-conference and are currently undefeated, although their strength of schedule is somewhat lacking; their best win is @ WOU and that went to triple OT in the first game of the season. Right now they’re our pick to host the Regional as of now, because just win baby, win!
The Regional could end up being split between SFSU and Hawaii Pacific, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but… We still feel like hosting is Cal Baptist’s to lose. Being undefeated is one thing, but being truly tested before conference play is another and Cal Baptist definitely has the latter.
What teams do we have making the Regional 100%?
San Fran State
Here’s a list of all of the teams that are currently in control of their own destiny regarding making the Regional:
San Fran State
East Bay -only two losses come via SF State and Western Washington, but they got killed by both. We’ve liked East Bay for a while -they give teams fits at Mac Martin every year.
Hawaii Pacific -they’re only a maybe, because they didn’t play any true road games in non-con.
Azusa Pacific -they’re currently 7-7, but they have wins over Dixie State and Western Oregon, as well as a couple of potentially quality losses to West Texas A&M & Seattle Pacific-ish.
The following looks excessive, but seriously: We can justify it.
Western Washington -because duh. The two teams they just lost to by a collective five points or so will likely be 1-2 in the Lonestar Conference and both are 100% in the South Central Regional.
Central Washington -why they lost to Anchorage, we don’t know, they have the most minimal of non-con, but if they win 14 games in conference, there’s no reason they wouldn’t be in the tournament.
Alaska-Anchorage -lose one more game and we say they no longer control their own destiny, but they have a good team and for right now: they are in control.
Seattle Pacific -We constantly talk crap about the Falcons, but the fact is that they have SOS, have a history of doing well, and we firmly believe that it’s the coaching staff holding this team back -not the players. When the coaching staff decides they want to win, they’ll be able to.
Saint Martin’s -they did what they needed to in non-con. Every conference team is going to lose multiple games. Non-con saves them. They’re in control right now.
MSU-Billings -they are as close to not being in control as you can possibly get, but while they lost in non-con, it was to East Bay and Cal Baptist on the road, which looks legit.
We originally had WOU on that list, but we honestly hadn’t looked at just how bad their non-conference went. They have no SOS, what-so-ever. They don’t control their own destiny -they need other teams to lose in order to make it in. When we think about it, would we take a 17-1 WOU team over a 17-1 Hawaii Pacific/Dixie/Azusa/UCSD/Chico/San Fran/East Bay? No. East Bay is the only ‘maybe’ in there, and all of that requires those teams to lose.
14 teams. Eight spots. Five at-large. We think the five at-large bids are already spoken for. This is a year when the auto-bid is going to be dire. We have no idea what’s going to happen at all. Literally, the prediction posts are going to be 100% pointless. We just don’t know.
In the GNAC, here’s what’s happened so far:
MSUB beat WOU
Concordia beat MSUB
NNU beat Anchorage
Pick ’em Games:
UAA @ CWU = UAA
UAF @ CWU = CWU
WWU @ SPU = WWU
There’ve only been 10 conference games played and three of them were upsets while three of them there was no way to pick a winner prior. It’s just going to get worse. If this blog has taught us one thing in regard to predicting basketball games: the more knowledge we have, the less we know. Darn all of these really good players that we know can completely change a game on any given night!
If you have something you want us to discuss tomorrow, tweet at us or leave in the comments -otherwise, we’ll catch you guys on Thursday for the game previews.
We’re going to do the results of the SPU game at Chaminade when we do these tomorrow morning. It’s not that we’re mad -we’re just disappointed. No, kidding, we honestly don’t care. We’ve said what we have to say, they are fully aware of what we think, and what they truthfully know needs to be done and the players and particularly the coaching staff isn’t doing it. It is what it is. They can change their minds any time they want.
All times pacific.
As for WOU @ APU @ 7:30.
The Wolves are going to kill the Cougars. We both think that and hope that. APU hasn’t looked particularly good this year and somehow the GNAC is looking tentatively like the class of the west, which may or may not say a lot. We like the Pac-West and CCAA, all of y’all know we’d be the first people to rag on the GNAC, but the thing is we’re looking tentatively very okay.
And so why aren’t we saying much on the blog? BECAUSE WHO KNOWS WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE WEST?!?!
Not us. And if anyone were know what was going on in the West Region, you’d think it would be us. Again. Driving in the snow in Seattle. If someone says they know, they’re lying. But we are super excited because the more games are played the better the GNAC looks. WWU is looking on fire and we love everything they’ve been doing. WOU has looked really good. UAA has been split but that team has so much talent and such a good program MO that anything could happen. Why wouldn’t they be in the tournament? Now hosting the tournament -ain’t gonna happen. But in the tournament? We’re still sensing a high probability. NNU has become the UAF of UAA. In English: WWU, no matter how far they went in the tournament, always lost at UAF. Just a thing. UAA, great team, they lose at NNU. It is what it is. Does that mean WWU will lose at UAF this year? Because WWU looks amazing, that means UAF has to spoil their fun? Traaaaadition!
SPU @ Hilo @ 9:30.
SPU… We feel like the second we’re like “screw y’all” they’re going to actually start playing like SPU, but we’re kind of enjoying their demise right now. We’re laughing really hard at it. It’s not even schadenfreude. We just love it. Because if we let ourselves care about it, it would kill us. So we’re like “okay, you do you. Grant, this is your chance. Congrats. This is what it looks like. Reminder: It can stop any time. You can play what we’ve come to know as SPU basketball at any time.”
That being said: SPU is losing to Hilo. They barely beat them at home, this time it’s on the road and the Falcons are going DOWN between the hours of 9:30 and 11:30pm pacific.
Nightlights? At like midnight? Maybe.
Why is blogging happening so late this year? Because we’re used to knowing something. We’re used to being able to extrapolate meaning out of all of this data, but this year the data is meaningless. We ended up in basketball really randomly and, via the demographic we came from, we’re aware that if we can’t make sense of these numbers -no one can.
If someone tells you they can make sense of them, they’re lying. It’s like someone saying they can drive in the snow in Seattle. We grew up driving in eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana snow and through those mountain passes in the winter. We can drive in the snow just fine. We cannot drive in the snow in Seattle because Seattle usually sits around 20 degrees when it snows (even at night) and warms up as sunlight hits it, thus it’s nothing but a mess of ice with the constant thaw-refreeze-thaw that happens as any given day-of-snow goes on.
It’s impossible drive in Seattle in the snow.
It’s impossible to take any meaning out of these numbers.
And that’s why we’re struggling to put up posts on time. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s not that we’re not following things insanely closely, it’s that as much as we love highlighting these guys… We want the highlights to be real. And right now without context we don’t know what real is.
For the (ahem Central) people that are like “you just don’t care as much because SPU is a mess” um, it’s a pretty darn good year for our alma mater to be a mess considering with the level of parity, we essentially have 11 teams in the GNAC in play.
Yes. 11. 11 teams. Simon Fraser, welcome to the Club.
There are definite player highlights from the past weekend we can touch on…
NNU 53 “@” CSU East Bay 71
-Bouna N’Diaye went 7-9 from the field, finishing with 14 points
-Maurice Jones went 6-7 from the field, finishing with 17 points and eight boards.
NNU 68 @ Chico 79
-Bouna N’Diaye and Kalieb Rodrieguez both finished with 17 points apiece.
Funny/fun game just because they actually got Chico to push the tempo. Usually Chico is a defensive grind it out, which is incredible, but can be fun to see the points rise. We like Chico. They and UCSD are “our” CCAA teams.
WOU 65 “@” Westminster 58
-Tanner Omlid had 10 boards, five steals, and 23 points.
-Malik Leaks had 10 points off the bench.
WOU 73 @ Dixie State 78
-Tanner Omlid had 7 assists and zero turnovers.
Once again… We really have to compliment WOU on how well they take care of the basketball. Another funny thing because along with lack of SOS, how many turnovers those mid-2000s Romar teams had was the other major complaint. The Wolves definitely have that one taken care of; and WOU’s SOS is admittedly better this year than last.
SFU 67 “@” CU-Irvine 80
-TYRELL LEWIN HAD 24 POINTS ON 12-12 SHOOTING.
-JJ Pankratz had 19 points.
MSUB 86 “@” Western State (CO) 77
-Kendall Denham had 14 points off the bench.
MSUB 83 @ Colorado Mesa 68
-Jace Anderson went 6-6 from the line and finished with 22 points.
SPU 79 “@” Point Loma 86
-Tony Miller had 11 boards
SPU 73 @ Azusa Pacific 68
-Coleman Wooten had 14 boards.
Fresno Pacific 58 “@” UAF 74
-Bangaly Kaba went 9-10 from the line and finished with 17 points.
Fresno Pacific 66 @ WWU 75
-Jeffrey Parker went 7-7 from the line and finsihed with 21 points.
Essentially those were the best numbers the games had to offer. We’re only doing that because the rest… Our arms are crossed and we’re waiting. We believe in all of them, but this isn’t little league. Some will score more, some will score less. Some teams will win more, some teams will win less. And the numbers will matter. Eventually.
Conference play starts tonight. CU-PDX @ WOU. The obvious thing is that WOU is going to beat Concordia and we feel pretty confident in that pick. We’re very proud of Tanner. If you make our pre-season all conference team and then play well, you’ll be in our good book for a long time. If you play badly, we’ll openly complain about you the following year even if you’re sitting within earshot.
We’ll do POW here in a bit, although the nominations and award will probably be in the same post since so few teams played two actual D2 games. Still means just as much, but most of the time we try not to bombard people with posts.
Other than that… We see a Phil Jackson-style shenanigans post in the near future, no pun intended.